U.S. government: refused to work because of the epidemic will also be able to receive relief

The U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday (Feb. 25) that some unemployed Americans who were removed from state unemployment insurance programs for refusing to work or accepting job offers because of concerns about the pandemic are now eligible for assistance with government funds.

The new program will also expand eligibility for pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA), which will apply to workers who lost their jobs or had their work hours reduced as a direct result of the outbreak.

School teachers without contracts and employees whose salaries have been reduced since the closure of their schools will also be eligible for PUA.

The Department of Labor announced that it will provide funding for states to make the necessary changes and Time to update their systems so that PUA funds can be disbursed to eligible applicants. The department requires applicants to self-certify that they are unemployed, unable to work or unavailable for work due to an identified outbreak-related reason.

“The department expects the earliest extension of eligibility to be implemented by the end of March,” the statement said, “but those who are already eligible should be able to receive benefits before then.”

The department reported earlier Thursday that at least 19 million people were on unemployment benefits under all programs in early February.

As a result of the Epidemic, U.S. government departments have dramatically increased spending on all types of relief. on Feb. 10, the U.S. Treasury Department said spending at the Labor Department, which administers unemployment benefits, has increased 10-fold so far this fiscal year, and spending at the Agriculture Department, which administers the nutrition assistance program, has increased 36 percent. Meanwhile, payments on the federal debt have fallen 18 percent from a year earlier as interest rates remain at historic lows.

The Treasury Department noted that in the first four months of fiscal year 2021 (October-January), the U.S. budget shortfall totaled a record $736 billion, an 89 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

For the 12 months ending in January, the U.S. deficit totaled $3.47 trillion, or 16.2 percent of economic output.